The cultivation of mindfulness requires periods of focused attention. Many proponents of mindfulness maintain that this is best developed through seated, silent meditation. So before considering how to focus attention, we must first consider our relationship with silence.
Whether in the center of a city or deep in a forest, the cacophony of sounds around us makes it apparent that true silence is impossible. Composer John Cage wrote music that included long periods of silence. When the musicians stopped playing, concertgoers were quickly confronted with the shuffling, shifting, and coughing sounds in the concert hall.
So what is silence?